Kadai Buying Guide

Kadai Buying Guide

At Curry Fayre our goal is to help you find the perfect cooking equipment to make authentic Indian cuisine. Curries, stews, soups, and sweets – there is no shortage of incredible culinarily delights in Indian cuisine, all of which can be easily made from your own kitchen.

While you can use your conventional kitchen utensils to prepare and cook your Indian fare, there are some items you may want to buy to create that authentic Indian flavour and texture these dishes are famous for.

If there is type of Indian cooking equipment you should buy, regardless of your experience cooking this cuisine, it is certainly the kadai pan. This versatile cooking bowl is a staple in any Indian kitchen, allowing you to create all kinds of fried Indian cuisine, making it a fantastic investment if you love making Indian food!

What is a Kadai?

A kadai, also called a karahi, is a type of frying pan used in the south Asian subcontinent. Often compared to the wok, a kadai is a flat-bottom, high-sided pan used to predominately fry foods. That said, it is a versatile piece of cooking hardware, suitable for making all kinds of Indian foods like curries, soups, and stews.

Traditionally made from cast iron, kadai are sold in all kinds of shapes and sizes, while you will pans made from all kinds of metals (much like western cookware). They are noted for their thick bases and thinner sides, which help to generate and maintain heat used to cook all kinds of food, including meats, vegetables, and sauces.

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Is a Kadai the Same as a Wok?

A kadai pan is commonly compared to the Asian wok, each featuring a flat base and higher sides for cooking at high temperatures. However, a kadai cooking bowl usually comes with a much wider, flat base than a wok, while the sides are generally much higher too.

Due to the design of the Indian Kadai, it is more versatile than a wok, letting you cook a wider selection of foods, beyond just Indian cuisine. In fact, you could easily use a kadai to make delicious stir-fry food, like with a wok. 

Reasons to Buy a Kadai

The biggest reason to buy a good kadai pan is simple – it is incredibly versatile. While we are recommending it to anyone that wants to make homemade Indian food, like curries, a good kadai can be used to prepare all kinds of foods, not just Asian.

Of course, it really shines when used to make Indian and other south Asian foods, giving your curries and fried foods an authentic taste that is hard to replicate with western cookware.

Also, a kadai works great on any cooking surface. While they are traditionally used on open fires, like a barbeque pit, most kadai pans are designed for use on gas, electric, and induction stoves, allowing to fry Indian fare from your kitchen.

There are various sizes of kadai grill to choose from, including smaller sizes people making smaller portions, along with huge pans to make food for the entire family. This means you can easily find one that is the right size for your cooking habits.

How to Find the Best Kadai

Finding the best Indian kadai is often challenging if you are unsure what features to look for. There is also a lot of kadai sets on the market, not all of which are great, so it helps to know a few things before you start shopping.

Here are some things to consdier when looking for the best kadai:


Perhaps the most important consideration to make when buying a kadai is the material. A cast iron kadai is considered the classic design, although there are many other materials to choose from, any of which may be to your liking.

Stainless steel: A great all round material, it heats quickly, maintains temperatures, and is highly durable so should last a long time. For fast cooking results, look for a stainless steel kadai

Cast Iron: An iron kadai is robust and durable, being quick to heat and providing a wonderful finish to the food. They are heavier, however, and require more maintenance to ensure they remain seasoned.

Aluminium: Lightweight and versatile, aluminium kadai pans are some of the most widely available, so come with a great price. They are easy to clean and should last a good time, while being available in a wide selection of shapes and sizes.

Non-Stick: Kadai with non-stick coatings are perfect for frying, with the special coating helping to avoid foods stick to the base of the pan. This means you can quickly fry foods without making too much mess, resulting in less tie cleaning the pan.


Like any cookware, always consdier the size of the kadai pan before you buy it. You want to ensure that the pan has a large enough capacity for your regular cooking habits, so think about how much food you typically make for your household.

For example, those making food for a large family will need a good size capacity, upwards of 5L, to ensure there is enough space to cook for several people at once. Anyone making portions for one or two people will be fine with a pan with a smaller capacity, around 1.5 to 3L.


The best Indian kadai feature a thick base for frying, so always make sure there is a good thickness to pan’s base. The thickness is often given in mils or gauge. The higher the mils, the thicker the base, while a lower gauge indicates a thicker base – look for a thick base if using the pan for mostly frying.


Make sure you buy a kadai pan that is compatible with your cooking hardware. For example, a kadai bowl or grill is often used with barbeque coals so may not work on a cooktop (or be too large to fit on one).

A kadai pan is traditionally used on a cooker, although make sure to double check its compatibility if you are using an induction hob – these require a special pan with an adonized base.